Unwavering from his market tested message Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today appealed to voters to trust his “economic plan” with three more years in government.
At the Liberal Party’s formal campaign launch at Homebush in the marginal western Sydney seat of Reid, Mr Turnbull made new funding announcements including $50million to help seniors lift their smart phone and digital skills, a boost in mental health programs, and a project to extract illegal guns from criminal gangs.
His emphasis on tax relief for small to medium business was repeated along with a commitment to apply penalties on multi-national tax avoidance.
The UK’s decision to exit the European Union had thrown up an uncertainty challenge.
“We will need to re-negotiate trade deals in Europe,” he said.
Mr Turnbull attacked Labor leader Bill Shorten over the government’s trade agreements negotiated over the last three years, particularly the Australia-China free trade agreement.
Trade deals were the key to Australia’s future prosperity, he said.
Only calm leadership with steady hands could steer Australia through any economic shocks which could come from the fallout of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU.
Behind Mr Turnbull were flashed key words which represent the focus group tested marketing strategies to win undecided voters in the vital six days remaining: “Stability, stable government, strong economy, more jobs, strong borders, innovation, growth, exports, small business”.
In the company of former Prime Ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, Mr Turnbull acknowledged his predecessors. “John and Tony we salute you.”
A significant part of his speech was a direct personal attack on the character of Mr Shorten, the Medicare scare campaign, Mr Shorten’s alleged capture by his trade union backers, the exposure of practices which left his own union members disadvantaged in some enterprise agreements.
Mr Shorten was unfit to lead Australia, Mr Turnbull said.
Mr Turnbull’s campaign has been tightly controlled by Liberal campaign director Tony Nutt.
His news conferences are often four-question events with accompanying press gallery journalists not invited or able to ask follow up questions.
Mr Turnbull, according to journalists, often simply flicks questions which are not on that day’s talking points agenda.
With Brexit likely to dominate the final week, the Coalition is seen to be at an advantage if marginal seats’ undecided voters are unsettled by the bad news, falling pound and equity markets where trillions in value have been wiped off.
Other breaking news on Sunday was Labor’s release of its budget costings expected to confirm that Mr Shorten’s deficit will be bigger than Mr Turnbull’s over the next four years with claims that the federal budget would be brought back to balance by 2021.